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Anton Hout - SBI Instructor
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Anton Hout


How to Build a Website That Works

How to Build a Website that Works!

How To Build a Website That:
Draws Traffic, Converts Visitors Into Buyers and Generates Ongoing Income

Part 4 - Planning Monetization Options

Here we are at part four of this series and we are only just beginning to talk about how you can earn money from your site. Once you have a foundation of high quality original content that drives free search engine traffic to your site and you've developed a relationship of trust with your visitors you can begin to monetize.

However, you will want to have done some research before you build your site so that when you get to this stage you will already have a good idea of the various revenue streams you can add.

If you are a small business owner or consultant you may only be interested in having your website generate leads or sales for your primary product or service. On the other hand you may be developing a niche site and looking for multiple approaches to monetization.

Multiple Streams of Income

There are various monetization models you can use, so let's take a look at some of the more popular ones that you can implement on your site.

Affiliate Marketing

Of course, a big one is the affiliate marketing model. If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing it is one of the easiest ways to add a revenue stream to your site. Many merchants offer affiliate programs that allow website owners (publishers) to promote their products and earn commissions for providing referrals.

This is a great way to get started as the merchant handles all of the back end work. They stock the products and handle billing, shipping and returns. You just recommend their products or feature their ads on your website and send them referrals.

When it comes to choosing which affiliate program to join and what products and services to recommend it is important to remember not to abuse the privilege of trust you have earned with your visitors. Only recommend things you truly believe in. Your reputation is on the line. People are only willing to buy based on your recommendations because of your reputation. Never squander the treasure of your good name for fast and dirty profits.

While there are thousands of merchants with affiliate programs offering millions of products you don't want to limit yourself to the affiliate model. There are many more options to monetize with...

Google AdSense

Another popular approach that is easy to get started with is Google AdSense. When you place AdSense ads on your website you earn a percentage each time a visitor clicks on the ad link. Advertisers bid on the the amount they will pay so the amount you will earn per click can vary greatly.

Before you decide on which niche you get into it pays to do a bit of research on the value of the AdSense clicks for each of your niches if you intend on making AdSense a part of your site's monetization plan.

Fortunately, Google has a tool that you can use to get a general idea of what the value of different keywords are. Check out the Google Adwords Keyword Tool here.

Just enter your main site concept keyword and Google will return a list of related keywords. To see how much advertisers are paying for these phrases go under the "Choose columns to display:" and select "Show Estimated Avg. CPC". (CPC means Cost Per Click.) You will likely see a wide range even within this niche ranging from a few dollars to mere pennies.

Try entering keywords for your other niche ideas and compare the different CPC values. You don't want to decide your niche solely on these numbers but it's good to know what the potential is before you make your final decision.

NOTE: If you use affiliate marketing to monetize your site you will have to be careful about your Google AdSense placement. You wouldn't want to create a page where you promote an affiliate product and then also place AdSense ads there. Why? Because other affiliate marketers may be placing ads with Google in a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign and their ads could appear on your page.

So after you have created a great page that has gotten the traffic and has PREsold your visitor on the product you would lose the sale if that visitor clicks on your competitor's Google ad and goes to their site instead!


Another possibility is to earn income from referrals to other businesses. For example, if you have a travel site related to your favorite vacation spot you could refer your visitors to local hotels, restaurants, bed & breakfasts, real estate agents, car rentals, tours, etc. What businesses are related to your niche?

You could place a form on your site where, for example, visitors could inquire about booking a bed & breakfast. The form information could then be sent to both yourself and the owners of the bed & breakfast. If a booking resulted they would pay you a referral fee.

Digital Products and E-books

With your in-depth knowledge about your niche you can write an e-book full of valuable information. Offering e-books, either those you write or those created by others, is a great monetization option. They are easy to create as they are digital products. There are no printing costs, no warehousing, no shipping. Just add a simple PayPal button to accept payments and buyers can them just download the e-book themselves.

Speaking of digital products, you can often earn great commissions selling e-books created by others. It is not uncommon to see commissions from 40-75%.

It works the same way for other digital products like software, videos and MP3's. Digital products can also easily be offered as promotions. For example, as bonuses for visitors who subscribe to your newsletter.

Net Auctions

You can also incorporate net auctions like eBay into your site. But instead of just offering your products on eBay and depending on their traffic you can now take control of your net auction business by driving your targeted traffic to your auctions instead.

By the way, even if you don't have your own auctions on eBay you can join their affiliate program and offer items being auctioned by others.

Hardgoods and Dropshipping

You can also sell your own hard goods. If you buy or manufacture products for sale you can use your website to promote them. You can handle the shipping yourself or you can work with other merchants that have drop-shipping programs.

Dropshipping takes a lot of the hassle out of the equation as you don't have to handle warehousing and shipping but as you bill customers directly it does require more work than simply being an affiliate who refers sales.

Service Provider

Offer your services. Are you a webmaster, graphic designer, copy writer, photographer, financial adviser, plumber, etc. Use your website to generate highly targeted leads. You don't have to rely on expensive advertising (online and offline) like AdWords or YellowPages.

Even if your service is provided to a local geographical area having a website that can beat out your local competitors is becoming more and more important as people are now using Google to find local businesses and are using YellowPages less and less.

Network Marketing

If you're in network marketing or MLM chasing leads can be frustrating. You can use your website to generate pre-qualified leads that have already been PREsold on the concept. Instead of chasing leads that may not be interested now you can have leads coming to you who are already intrigued by your business opportunity.

Many More...

These are just some of the examples of ways that you can add revenue streams to your website. Be creative, find new ways and put together a combination of approaches. You want to have multiple sources of income. So, consider what monetization options will be available for your niche concepts before you decide on the best one.

What's Next?

Once you've decided on the best concept for your website that has the best potential for both traffic and monetizaton you will be ready to start creating your site. We'll be looking at ways to build your site even if you have absolutely no technical skills. Don't worry about that. But more importantly we will be looking at how you need to structure and optimize your site and pages to make them search engine friendly.

If you haven't already, make sure to subscribe to the SBI-Classroom Bulletin. There is no charge right now to join. Just enter your email address and first name in the subscription form at the top right side of any page. Note: I do not give out your email address to anyone!

Until next time...

Anton Hout

7 Part Mini-Course
How to Build a Website that Works!

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